Education Week recently interviewed Jobs for the Future Board of Directors member Lisette Nieves about a recent report by JFF’s Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning on the state of diversity and equity in youth apprenticeships in the United States.
The report, “The Current State of Diversity and Equity in U.S. Apprenticeships for Young People,” notes that even though the number of new youth apprentices (people ages 16-24) per year grew from 18,877 to 40,293 from 2010 to 2020, there are still racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in terms of who’s able to access apprenticeship opportunities and the success apprentices have in the labor market once they complete their programs.
Nieves, a professor of administration, leadership, and technology at New York University who has researched and written about youth apprenticeships, talked with Education Week about those disparities and what school districts can do to expand and improve apprenticeship opportunities for students.
School districts should be intentional about inviting and encouraging a diverse group of students from different backgrounds to participate in apprenticeships so “we’re not structurally setting up a system, or reproducing an existing system that only recognizes certain apprenticeships for very privileged students,” Nieves said.
“There needs to be intentionality about who’s participating and why they’re participating because we have a history of steering students to different paths that has not been equitable,” she added.